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Bacterial Meningitis

Why is this notification on Navarro I.S.D.’s website?

Senate Bill (SB) 31 was recently signed into law by Governor Perry, and the bill requires a school district to provide information relating to bacterial meningitis to its students and their parents each school year. The legislation instructs the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to prescribe the form and content of the information and the procedures for notifying students and parents. The following information is this year’s prescribed TEA information on bacterial meningitis. As Navarro I.S.D. receives more information from TEA, you may check this page for updates.

What is Meningitis?

Meningitis is an inflammation of the covering of the brain and spinal cord---also called the meninges. It can be caused by viruses, parasites, fungi, and bacteria. Viral (aseptic) meningitis is common; most people recover fully. Medical management of viral meningitis consists of supportive treatment and there is usually no indication for the use of antibiotics. Parasitic and fungal meningitis are very rare. Bacterial meningitis is very serious and may involve complicated medical, surgical, pharmaceutical, and life support management.There are two common types of bacteria that cause meningitis:

  • Strep pneumoniae causes pneumococcal meningitis; there are over 80 subtypes that cause illness
  • Neisseria meningitidis – meningococcal; there are 5 subtypes that cause serious illness—A,B,C,Y,W-135.

What are the symptoms?

Someone with meningitis will become very ill. The illness may develop over one or two days, but it can also rapidly progress in a matter of hours. Not everyone with meningitis will have the same symptoms.

Children (over 1 year old) and adults with meningitis may have**:

  • Severe headache
  • High temperature
  • Vomiting
  • Sensitivity to bright lights
  • Neck stiffness, joint pains
  • Drowsiness

**In both children and adults, there may be a rash of tiny, red-purple spots or bruises caused by bleeding under the skin. These can occur anywhere on the body. They are a sign of blood poisoning (septicemia), which sometimes happens with meningitis, particularly the meningococcal strain.

How serious is Bacterial Meningitis?

If it is diagnosed early and treated promptly, the majority of people make a complete recovery. In some cases it can be fatal or a person may be left with a permanent disability, such as deafness, blindness, amputations, or brain damage (resulting in mental retardation or paralysis) even with prompt treatment.

How is Bacterial Meningitis spread?

Fortunately, none of the bacteria that cause meningitis are as contagious as diseases like the common cold or the flu, and they are not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been. The germs live naturally in the back of our noses and throats, but they do not live for long outside the body. They are spread when people exchange saliva (such as kissing, sharing drinking containers, utensils, or cigarettes).

The germ does not cause meningitis in most people. Instead, most people become carriers of the germ for days, weeks, or even months. Being a carrier helps to stimulate your bodies natural defense system.